Summary: Do we deserve the nametag Christian, when it means being like Christ. This sermons looks at what it is to be truly Christian
Intro: for the last few years Bradley has played a lot of golf with Adam and Blake West, they are identical twins. For almost two years I got it wrong every time. I would say, good shot Adam, Blake would say, I’m not Adam. I would say, how did you shoot Blake, Adam would say, I’m not Blake. Twins are mirrors of each other in many ways. Finally after two years I could actually tell them apart, most of the time. The early believers were that way to the world. They looked so much like Christ, that they named them a new name at Antioch, the name Christians. Today, our goal is to imitate Christ so that we can carry the name of Christ.
IMITATIONS OF CHRIST
· In his book, Imitations of Christ, Thomas a Kempis states there is no higher or more noble work than thinking on Christ, pursuing Christ, desiring the very mind of Christ. To be Christlike is the highest goal of every believer, it is to be identified with Christ.
To imitate Christ we must: defeat sin, deny self, destroy Satan and delight in surrender and sacrifice to Jesus every day.
I. Defeat Sin—Hebrews 4:15—he was tempted just like we are, yet without sin. Jesus defeated sin in the flesh and nailed it to the cross. We are no longer in bondage to sin through Christ.
· A Christian doesn’t live the same life they did as a sinner. If someone sins all the time, is bound by sin, they are still a sinner. Grace saves us, but to live for Christ we can’t stay at the cross, we must move into spiritual life through the Spirit of God.
· We will be tempted, and because we aren’t yet perfected, we still can lose battles, but the early Christians lived so holy, so pure, so much like Jesus, that sinners couldn’t tell them from the original.
· Some people say, only Jesus lived a sinless life to excuse a life of sinning. But if the cross didn’t defeat sin than the atonement is lacking. God doesn’t just give you grace from sin, but victory over sin.
II. Deny Self—Matthew 16:24—if any man come after me, let him
Deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. There is an old saying that says a lot, sin can be washed by the blood, but self must be nailed to the cross.
· Denying self is to imitate Jesus Christ. Jesus lived his life for others. When he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion on them. Jesus always thought of others more than himself. To truly be Christ-like we must conquer self, and live for others.
· Self is the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Self is a like of selfishness. It is me, myself and I. It is I am number one and everyone else is number zero.
· Self is inward, Christ is outward. Self is what’s in it for me, Christ is what’s in it for you. To truly be Christian the goal is more of him and less of me, more of Christ for all to see.
III. Destroy Satan—I John 3:8—Jesus came that he might destroy the
Works of the devil. In the atonement, Jesus won back the authority that man lost in the garden. He commissioned the church to walk in dominion power over all the works of Satan. We are called to be more than conquerors through Christ.
· The church is the body of Christ, we are to carry out his victory in this world. We walk in authority over all principalities and powers. Demons are subject to us through the name of Jesus.
· The church is not a building or a religious organization. The church is Christ in action. Greater works shall you do because I go to the Father. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we are to over-come.
· The church is not only for salvation, but infilling of the Holy Spirit, healing, deliverance, blessing and favor.
IV. Delight in Surrender and Sacrifice---John 4:34-my meat is to do the will of him who sent me. Jesus here states that his hearts desire is to do the will of God. Not His will, but God’s will.
· Surrender and Sacrifice means laying down of our lives. Our lives, our bodies are not our own, we were bought with a price. Paul called himself a bond slave to Christ.
· When people see you giving your life for the work of the Lord, they see Jesus in you. When they see your sacrificial love, when they see how you carry other’s burdens, when they hear how earnestly you pray for them, they see Jesus.